Friday evening was spent multitasking between downloading a video that refused to download and watching the documentary Milius, a mesmerizing film about writer and filmmaker John Milius. Since my video won the battle and I have to temporarily scrap that project, I will fill the blogging void with my thoughts on Milius.
The truth is, in spite of my vast love of film, the only reason I know
about John Milius today is because of a friend who loves John
Milius movies. This is not to say that John Milius movies are garbage and that's why I stayed away from them; quite the contrary.
Milius films are cinematic masterpieces with powerful messages that capture dynamic human struggles. The Milius documentary does a thorough and entertaining job of covering not only Milius's extensive credits, but also his schooling at USC film school, via interviews with studio executives, fellow filmmakers, actors, friends and family, plus audio recordings from John himself. One fun film fact I learned, among others, was that Milius wrote the USS Indianapolis speech in Jaws as a favor to Spielberg, and that Robert Shaw edited it down from 10 pages to 5 for his unforgettable delivery.
Fun film facts aside, as Sam Elliott eloquently points out in the documentary, John Milius writes for men. I completely concur, and last I checked my anatomy has excluded me from the man club, which may be why Milius movies don't attract me themselves, albeit the male viewers of his films do. It is because of this reality that I do not find it offensive or sexist for content to be aimed specifically at men since it collaterally attracts me to men. Go figure.
In fact, I think more content should be aimed at men; good content, that is. Good content being something more testosterone-pumping than a pair of boobs on a Maxim magazine that is filled with ads for men's hair gels. Hair gels...for men?! As if. Men do not need content that makes their dick and/or hair hard; men need content that makes their character hard: ballsy, unapologetic, and anarchical content. I may be wrong of course and this is only my view as a woman who is not interested in hearing a man drone on about his hair, sports stats, or what the latest overpriced must-have gadget is.
Watching the Milius documentary helped me better understand John Milius's manly style and it gave me greater appreciation for him as the Zen Anarchist that he is. Besides being a Hollywood filmmaker, the documentary gave broad insight as to who Milius is as a man, an individual, a writer, a storyteller, and a stroke survivor. Having experienced the life-altering impact a stroke can have on the family of a stroke survivor, learning of Milius's stroke hit close to home as it serves as another reminder that life, illness, and death, waits for no man.
To learn that John Milius, a writer and storyteller, had his natural gift of communication taken from him after his stroke brought tears to my eyes. A writer, a communicator, a storyteller, unable to share what is in his mind with others; such is the heartache and sadness that stroke survivors often live with, being unable to express what is inside them. While the thought of it breaks my heart, the resilient side of me comes through with the knowledge that Milius shared many of his messages through his work for decades prior to his stroke. So while the stroke may have taken something from him temporarily, he didn't wait for a stroke to happen to make him start sharing his passion for storytelling with others.
As Milius points out in the documentary, money comes and goes, but to have your work touch the life of another lasts forever. Unfortunately, I can't say that Milius's films have touched my life as much as they have touched the lives of others, but I can say that his life's story has profoundly touched me, as a woman, a writer, and a human. To say that I recommend watching the documentary, his films, or learning more about John Milius would be rather redundant, as I would not have written this otherwise.
Thanks for reading.
What are your thoughts on Milius and his films? Let me know in the comments!
Watch the Milius trailer.
Visit Amazon to add to your Milius library.